Articulation work: Value chains of land assembly and real estate development on a peri-urban frontier

Vinay Gidwani, Carol Upadhya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


If the entanglements of real estate and finance capital are pivotal in ongoing urban transformations in cities of the global south, then a less visible but equally vital dimension is the process of land assembly on which residential and commercial real estate speculation and development are premised. This paper pries open the value chain of land assembly that underlies these transformations in a rapidly expanding peri-urban frontier of Bengaluru, India. Drawing on detailed interviews with land market intermediaries, operating across different scales, who were instrumental in assembling agricultural land for a large apartment complex, the paper shows how existing forms of social power and local knowledge are harnessed to create inter-scalar linkages that enable the creation and extraction of value in Indian real estate. It makes the case for understanding the economic and cultural work of intermediaries in animating land's value chain as ‘articulation work’. Finally, the paper assesses the varying forms and quantum of value that are generated and captured by different actors in the value chain, which stretches from the landowning farmer up to a major real estate company, to reflect on the micro-dynamics of speculative urbanism and agrarian urbanization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-427
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation‘s Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (grant number BCS-1636437).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Articulation
  • Bengaluru
  • India
  • land market intermediaries
  • peri-urban land
  • real estate development
  • value


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